POETRY CORNER: Different

by Trajan D. Fields

The eyes are on

Me.

As I make my path

To that place my teacher told me to sit.

My Mommy

Told men that I was special,

Beautiful.

There’s a pretty girl in my class,

But even though I hope her eyes will meet with mine

They fall on my shortcomings.

Trapped in a chair with wheels,

That’s what they see in me.

There’s always my big brother

Who helps me get to class.

As he pushes me to the one room

Where I have friends that understand or don’t enough to call me a retard.

I’m slow,

But fast.

I can spell my name.

Like the other kids that pass by me

As they dare not speak to me even though I wave and say “Hello.”

I love my teachers,

Because they ask me how’s my day.

In that moment I fell

Normal.

Like Mommy,

I cry

Not on the outside but on the inside

Because I can’t play the games I watch others play

As they Laugh, and I sit and clap.

But I live and breathe

Like everyone else.

I have a dream,

It comes and goes but never changes.

I walk and read without

Anyone’s help

I Fly,

I’ll make the others want to be me,

Like I long to be them.

I play football and the crowd cheers

For me,

As I make the final touchdown.

Then I get the pretty girl.

But dreams are

For people who can make them possible.

I can do it.

They just won’t give me the chance to try.

I don’t want to cry

I’m a person

Not a prisoner.

I have a heart

Unlike those who don’t want me near them.

I’m Different

Or am I?

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STAFF EDITORIAL: Know your social media rights and remember responsibilities

In today’s world where access to technology reigns supreme, there is no doubt that we are in the age of social media.  Platforms such as Snapchat or Twitter are outlets where we can connect with friends and discuss our ideas.

This has led to new questions being asked about First Amendment rights and what you are allowed to talk about and share on social media. So, what exactly are your rights on social media?

Technically, as long as it follows whatever guidelines laid out in the terms of service by the creators of a social media app, it’s generally OK. However, even though your post may be allowed, it may not save you from repercussions from other groups.

It is important to remember that any public post you make can be seen by anyone from teachers to the police.

Social media apps also manage posts in order to protect people from threats. If someone posted a picture on their Snapchat story with a caption reading, “don’t come to school tomorrow,” the platform will report it to the authorities once they see it. Twitter and Facebook will also hand out bans if someone has a threatening post or offensive profile pictures.

If thinking before you post is too difficult for you and you are on social media, at least make your account private and accept only people who are close to you. Don’t be surprised, though, if someone from your tight group reports you for posting something inappropriate or cyber bullying someone else, either.

Know what the laws are before you post as well. For example, it is a felony to even threaten to bring a gun on a school campus. Even if you were just crying wolf, you will still be in major trouble.

In all honesty, it is not hard to keep yourself safe on social media. It only takes one thing: common sense. If you think that it’s a good idea to post a picture of you holding a weapon and threatening your school, you don’t need to be on social media.

Remember, anything you post publicly can be seen by anybody, including police officers, teachers, officials, and other students.

You have the right to speak your mind on social media. Your school cannot punish you just because it doesn’t agree. However, that doesn’t necessarily protect you from the repercussions that may occur as a result of what you said.

H-E-B ISD provides parenting workshops

By Laramie KnoxEditor-in-chief

Licensed specialist in school psychology (LSSP) Julia Harris has been working for the past three years to help provide parenting resources to the suburbs of HEB that used to only be available in downtown Fort Worth.

“We didn’t have anything out here,” Harris said. “There were resources available, but parents don’t want to drive all the way to Fort Worth after work when they need help.”

After working with the Parenting Center in Fort Worth, Harris and the other LSSPs of the school district have provided free parenting workshops, where they give methods for difficult topics such as “Managing Temper Tantrums and Time Outs” for elementary school students and “Communicating With Your Teen” for junior high and high school students.

While parenting is different for each family, the tools provided at these workshops are universal to all styles.

When it comes to discipline, “it’s all about changing your verbiage,” Harris said. “Saying ‘when you clean your room’ instead of ‘if you clean your room’ makes children more complacent.”

These tips are easy to implement in any household and have been helpful to all families in the district.

“It’s mostly single moms that come,” Harris said. “But we usually have 20 to 25 parents show, which is a good turn out.”

Harris has said that the parents attending these workshops have developed close relationships with one another, and often share parenting tips of their own.

The workshops provided are flexible to the changing times of technology. Within the past year, a class called “Preteens in the Wireless Age” has begun, in which parents learn about the dangers of technology that young adults have access to.

Harris said many LSSPs agree that “kids don’t know how to interact socially” due to an early introduction of screens, so future workshops will be focused on technology and how manage screen exposure at younger ages.

In discussing new issues like technology, Harris has also been talking about parenting children with ADHD.

“When we test kids for disabilities, it’s usually behavioral problems that come up,” Harris said. “We teach parents how to handle hyper-active behavior.”

In addition to behavioral issues, Harris would like to discuss more social issues in the future such as sexual education and dating.

Four years ago, these issues were discussed at an intense expo held at the First Baptist Church in Hurst.

“We used to bring in female prisoners and have them tell their stories,” Harris said.  “We didn’t even give them a topic, just let them speak freely.”

While these expos for teenagers no longer happen, Harris is hoping that these parenting workshops help out the parents in the community with their relationships with their teens.

“Parents often want to treat their children as friends, but there is a hierarchy in a family.”

Harris hopes that teens will encourage their parents to go to these workshops, because in the long run they benefit the entire household.

The most recent workshop, “Parenting a Child with ADHD,” was held Feb. 13 at Harrison Lane Elementary.

ALL EYES ON YOU: The Age of Social Media

by Emma ForemanAssistant Editor

Social media has been one of the most debated issues in the past 10 years as we ask ourselves what effects it has on individuals, specifically the main consumer of media—teenagers and young adults.

When you post something or make a statement on the internet, you are not only speaking for yourself. Your image represents everything you are a part of: your school, your work, your clubs, your church.

As seen in the assortment of tweets, Facebook posts, and internet updates, one comment made by an individual affects the individual and the company in great measure. But how does all fit into a school setting and affect on the student body?

Jim Bannister, Bell principal, believes that social media is overall a good thing, yet wants students to be cautious of the image they portray.

“Kids who wear letter jackets and T-shirts that advertise their organization are representing themselves and the school as a whole,” he said. “The way they behave, and what they say, shows what kind of kids we’re raising.”

Unlike prospective jobs and colleges, administrators and the school do not screen student accounts.

“If we get a report on a student’s behavior, and it is from a credible source, we look into it further, but we do not do routine screenings of social media sites,” Bannister said.

Furthermore, an instance where a student at L.D. Bell was affected by what something they posted, occurred five to six years ago. A student, who was up for an athletic scholarship, was known for being “very outspoken and had very defined opinions,” Bannister said.

A lot of his opinions were on controversial issues and caused questioning, but in the end the scholarship was not taken away, and the coach just addressed administration about it.

How do we make students more informed and cautious about what they post, and realize the affect it can have on their future and their overall image?

“More so, I am more afraid of how entrenched people are in wanting to know what people think of them,” Bannister said. “ I worry more than anything about how kids take things way too seriously that are put on media.”

Social media will continue to be a major influencer, and despite the negatives, it provides many positive attributes that advance society. The one thing we can do is keep in mind that, “before you post it, do you want your grandparents, your parents, your ministers, companies, organization leaders, or administrators to see it?”

On the way to state, again

by Aliyana Gonzalez

2015-2016 Texas champion, member of the girls gymnastics team, Kaitlin Hornsby is now in her last competing season as a senior.

Hornsby says she feels good about this season being that her team is first in state as of now. She admits that there is some competition this year so the ranking may change. According to Kaitlin, Rockwall High School specifically is going to make it “a very interesting year.”

Gymnastics has finished the compulsory section of their meets and is now moving into the optional season.

“Compulsory is level 5 and everyone does the same routines,” she said. “Optional is level 7 (or higher) and you have your own routines and the skills are harder.”

Hornsby is most excited for the optional season because it gives her the opportunity to perform “harder skills.” In state, currently Kaitlin is 13th on vault, 12th on floor, 1st on beam, and 4th all-around.

Kaitlin says that performing on beam is her favorite because it’s what she’s best at.

“I get the most nervous for beam compared to other events, but making a solid beam routine is the best feeling,” she said.

Her least favorite event is bars because they seem to be the hardest to make improvement on.

Hornsby says that she is doing well this season, breaking personal records. What keeps her motivated is knowing that this is her last year competing, so she wants to make it her best; she’s also motivated by the close competition.

Gymnast focuses on team’s goals to go to state

by Sophie RodgersSports Editor

One of Bell’s most successful sports team is the gymnastics team, filled with amazing, driven athletes who have gone further than most. Junior Xavier Pineda is one of them.

“It means so much to me to be on this team because it is filled with the most State Championships out of all the sports at BHS,” he said. “We are one of the best teams in the state.”

Being on a team this skilled comes with a lot of hard work, time management, and dedication.

“I try not to stress too much over school work because it sometimes affects my gymnastics skills, so I only focus on gym at gym and school at school,” he said.

A unique quality about Pineda is his will to push others and himself to the best of their abilities.

“My goal is to help the Bell men’s team go back to state and win districts again,” he said. “We have gotten second since my freshman year and not been to state but this year we are first in district, second in the region (the top three go to state), and eighth in the state.”

He has grown so much from his freshman year, and he is continuing to grow to this day.

“Gymnastics showed me that your mind is so powerful and you can do anything if you put your mind to it,” Pineda said. “Also, it is teaching me what it is like to take on a leadership role.”

He is an “all-arounder” which means he does all events. However, he does have a favorite.

“Since I have big tumbling and clean form in my tumbling, floor is by far my favorite event,” he said.

Pineda also loves his team more than anything, and that’s what keeps him going when things get difficult.

“My favorite thing about gym and my team is that we choose to make it about the team and not ourselves,” he said. “We want to take the team to state, not just an individual.”

This hardworking athlete is by far one the most dedicated out there, and he is ready to see what the future holds for himself and his team.

Burns not your normal athlete

by Sophie RodgersSports Editor

She has played sports her whole life, and now as a junior, Bella Burns is a phenomenal student athlete. No matter the sport, this girl has played it.

“I started playing basketball in seventh grade,” she said, “I just played because it was a junior high sport and then I actually ended up liking it a lot.”

Something unique about Burns is that she plays two varsity sports, volleyball and basketball, along with club volleyball outside of school.

“I have played basketball and volleyball on varsity since I was a freshman, and it has been such a blessing,” she said.

Being on both teams, she believes she has learned some valuable lessons having to do with life and herself.

“I have learned how to cope under pressure and that will help me in the future,” she said. “I feel like I have grown as a person and a teammate.”

One thing that she loves about the basketball team specifically is the environment that she has an opportunity to be a part of.

“It means so much to me to be on this great team,” she said. “The relationships I have made throughout this process and the family environment is irreplaceable.”

However, Burns doesn’t wish to play basketball in college but she is planning on playing volleyball.

“I hope to play volleyball in college because it is my main sport,” she said. “Although I love basketball, volleyball is just where I am most successful in.”

As Burns finishes up her high school years, she will continue to play basketball here at Bell even though she isn’t playing in the future because of her love for her team and the game.

Motivated Noble returns from injury

by Aliyana Gonzalez

A senior and member of the varsity basketball team, Jordan Noble has overcome many physical setbacks yet still is continuing on. Noble has suffered from multiple ACL tears along with surgery on his meniscus.

Noble first tore his ACL in sixth grade during a tackle in football practice; he underwent surgery and recovered. He then tore his ACL again in eighth grade trying to perform a move during football practice, underwent surgery and recovered. His last surgery was for his meniscus, which he tore playing basketball his freshman year. He recovered from this as well.

He says that recovering was a long and hard process, “rehabbing for months.” He explains that not having the ability to play sports for a while set him back a lot in comparison to his teammates.

Noble says that with the support of his family and friends, he was motivated to work towards the strength of his knee every year. He currently has no issues with his ACL or meniscus.

He started playing organized sports again his sophomore year, when he played for L.D. Bell’s basketball team. He says he chose basketball rather than football because after the two tears of his ACL in football, he didn’t want to risk it again.

He is currently still a member of the varsity basketball team and is enjoying his season, especially with a new basketball coach. However, Jordan does not wish to continue his basketball career into college, because he wants to focus on his academics.

Soccer player serves, leads, inspires others

by Sophie RodgersSports Editor

Something special about junior Holly Madden is how kind her heart is. She is always helping others. Whether it be sharing her love for the Lord with younger high school students in Young Life or being a captain for the soccer team, she is always there.

Madden is also an advanced student and a Young Life student leader.

“Managing my schedule is easy because I fill it with things I love,” she said. “I have no reason to make excuses and skip out on anything.”

Madden has played soccer for “13 years”—as long as she can remember, she said. She has played on the varsity soccer team here at Bell for three years and plays club soccer for the Dallas Texans.

“Being a captain is an awesome opportunity because I can lead a great group of girls and hopefully inspire the underclass men to be leaders too,” she said.

Many athletes strive to play at the next level and that is exactly what Madden wants to do.

“Playing at the next level is my dream because I love the game so much,” she said.

A person like her can do anything she wants if she puts her mind to it. As she has grown, she believes playing soccer has made an amazing impact on her life.

“Soccer has taught me how to be mentally tough and the true meaning of being a part of a team,” she said.

Many friends and coaches see Madden as a hard worker and a great friend. She loves the game and her friends more than anything.

She will continue to strive for greatness to get where she wants to go!

Academic Quiz League team named ‘Grand Champions’

by Laramie KnoxEditor-In-Chief

“We’re just a bunch of nerds that hang around and laugh,” said history teacher Kent Wooley when asked about the average Academic Quiz League practice.

Despite its small number of members, the Academic Quiz League club has been going on for decades at L.D. Bell.

“This is my 15th year as sponsor,” Wooley said. “The size of an organization usually depends of the sponsor.”

To increase participation, Wooley often encourages some of his sophomore students to join quiz league, and some of them enjoy it so much they stay until their senior year.

“I finally joined my junior year,” senior David Johnson said.  “I think it’s fun to see how much you actually know and how much you can learn.”

Competing in a fast-paced trivia style game, Academic Quiz League consists of a team of five students providing facts from a variety of subjects.

“[Quiz League] has given me confidence in my knowledge,” Johnson said.

Jack Vaughn and Johnson are the only seniors on Academic Quiz League this year, and they are also in the IB program.

“The kids that do quiz league are usually the most involved kids in school,” Wooley said. “They’re also some of the smartest.”

This year the team has several sophomores who are well-versed in many subjects.

“Usually we have a lot of people that are good at science and math,” said Johnson, who cites history as his best subject. “But this year we have a lot of people that are good at English and literature.”

The team ended their season this year as grand champions after winning semifinals at Martin High School on March 1.

“We’re here to win,” Wooley said. “But mostly we’re here to have fun.”